Monthly Archives: December 2013

Facebook – A Little Creepy and Intrusive


Last weekend my husband and I drove around to the local furniture stores looking at headboards and electric fireplaces. When we couldn’t find what we wanted, we went online and looked around.

I came across a furniture site I’d never seen before, and they had the perfect headboard. Unfortunately, they didn’t have it in king size. As for the electric fireplaces, we couldn’t find exactly what we were looking for.

We aren’t really in a hurry to buy either, even if we find what we love – it was only a bit of window shopping.

When I logged into Facebook on Monday, I was surprised to find that obscure online furniture store – the one with the headboard I liked – on my Facebook news feed. And no, I did not visit the site’s Facebook page, nor did I click on any “like.”

My husband tells me he experienced the same thing on his computer, where electric fireplaces populated his Facebook ads.

We recently bought a new double oven range, and before the purchase I did a little online price comparison. Since then, a double rage oven has been a regular fixture on the Facebook sponsored ads. I just peeked, and it seems that obscure furniture site is now the ad above the range.

How does this make me feel? Rather creepy.

Delicious Sugarless Fudge…


Delicious Sugarless Fudge? Not this year, if ever.

This time each year I start thinking of chocolate fudge. Not just any chocolate fudge, but the kind my dad used to make. It is from a vintage candy recipe that inspired his hot fudge topping – the one I use in my fictional romance, Sugar Rush, written under my Anna J. McIntyre pen name.

After playing with the recipe over the last few days, trying to make a low-cal version, I realize Sugar Rush was a good name for a book featuring the hot fudge, since sugar plays such a critical role in the recipe.

Unlike some fudge recipes that call for corn starch, this one uses just a few basic ingredients: sugar, milk, butter, unsweetened chocolate squares, vanilla and salt.

It’s possible to swap around a few ingredients and still come up with a good fudge – such as low fat milk for whole milk, cocoa for chocolate squares and margarine for butter. But whatever you do, forget about swapping sugar for a sugar substitute.

I tried both Splenda and Stevia to make the fudge, and while they might do okay when baking – they didn’t cut it in the fudge recipe.

First, the recipe calls for letting the mixture come to a boil on the stove, and then without stirring, allowing it to reach 234º to 238º. Unfortunately, before they reach the necessary temperature, a significant portion of the mixture burns to the bottom of the pan.

Even if you are able to scrape the remaining fudge from the pan and onto a buttered plate – the aftertaste will knock you over.

I finally broke down and made a batch with sugar – just to quench my annual fudge craving. My next batch of fudge will have to wait until next Christmas, if I’m to continue avoiding sugar.

Happy holiday cooking!

Love doesn’t have to hurt.

My parents_edited-1

I’m not big on censorship. But there is one book on Amazon I would love to see removed. It ‘s To Train Up a Child – a book that proclaims to be Christian based and advocates beating very small children with the sole purpose of breaking their spirits and bringing them into total compliance. One of the authors even boasts about repeatedly hitting a 10-month old child for not playing with something she wanted him to play with. Children have died after their parents followed this barbaric parenting manual.

One of my friends tells of a church member who regularly gives this book as a shower gift. It isn’t given as a perverse gag gift, but a sincere gesture in support of this parenting model.

Meanwhile on Facebook, I am constantly inundated by reposts that brag of being spanked as a child, and how the posters credit the spankings for them turning out as productive and respectful members of society.

I’ve nothing against an occasional swat on the bottom, depending on the circumstance. But spanking did not play a significant role in my upbringing – nor in the raising of our children. Considering how our children – now adults – turned out, I don’t believe sparing the rod turned them into lazy, non-productive, disrespectful citizens. In fact, I can proudly boast both are extremely hard working, and had their first job by age twelve. They are both doing well, and make me proud every day.

As for my parents sparing the rod, I don’t think I turned out so bad either. I’ve been married to the same man for over 37 years, and my husband and I are taking care of our mothers – both of whom are 85 years old – who live with us. If that isn’t a sign of respect, I don’t know what is.  I asked my husband if he was spanked much as a child and he tells me he doesn’t recall ever being spanked.

I’m  not saying we or my parents never spanked –  yet it was rare and never more than a couple swats on the bottom. I really don’t think those few swats taught any valuable lessons to me or my children. The valuable lessons I learned from my parents were by the examples they set.